“Front carrier” is the term we use to generically describe any basket, bag, crate, or rack that carries stuff above the front wheel (this could include so-called randonneur and porteur racks, cargo racks, handlebar bags, wicker baskets, wooden crates, boxy bags, etc.). We like front carriers because they’re easy to access and they increase the carrying capacity of any bike without interfering with the existing cargo area in back. Following are a few of the set-ups we like and use.
Michael is particularly fond of wood and wicker baskets. She likes how they look, and she likes the fact that she can toss in loose items without having to dig for them later. She also likes that baskets are conversation starters; she receives questions and compliments about her baskets just about every time she goes out. The Peterboro basket shown above is light enough to sit atop a small randonneur-style rack like the Rivendell Mark’s Rack.
The Bates Crate offers most of the benefits of a wooden basket while providing increased storage and weight capacity. The crate can be attached to any existing cargo rack with either small bungee cords or a strap. We particularly like the built-in coffee mug holders… :-)
While not as pretty, the Pass & Stow/Freight Baggage combo is a tough and versatile set-up that provides better weather protection and greater capacity than the basket and crate shown above. The FB Rack Bag is specifically designed to fit the Pass & Stow cargo rack.
Wald baskets are lightweight, well-made, and reasonably priced. The Woody is a popular and attractive wire basket with wooden slats in the base. This is an easy-to-install set-up that works well for fill-in trips to the grocery store or light commuting loads.
The Wald 137 combined with a small rack and a Rivendell ShopSack is an attractive, versatile and lightweight set-up. The ShopSack easily unclips from the basket to serve as a reusable shopping bag. Very cool.
The Civia Loring comes stock with a gorgeous cargo rack that has raised rails, a built-in U-lock holder, and bamboo slats. It has a 20 lb. maximum load capacity. I use this rack for photo shoots — a medium-sized Tamrac #5374 photo backpack fits perfectly.
These are just a few possible set-ups among a wide variety on the market. Whether you’re looking to increase your overall load capacity or you’d just like to have a convenient place to throw a sweater or a set of keys and a cell phone, consider looking into a front carrier of some sort — we use them daily on almost all of our bikes.